Letter: An appeal to Rep. Tipton | AspenTimes.com

Letter: An appeal to Rep. Tipton


Dear Editor:

This is an open letter to Colorado District 3 Rep. Scott Tipton regarding the proposed cuts to SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) via the farm bills being introduced in the House and Senate.

I urge you, Rep. Tipton, to please visit a food pantry before casting this critical vote and/or to view the documentary “A Place at the Table,” about the epic hunger issues millions are facing, which features Collbran, a ranching community in your district.

Quoting “Bread for the World,” “(The) Senate farm bill cuts $4.1 billion from SNAP, a cut that could result in thousands of households losing up to $90 a month in benefits. The proposed House farm bill is even more severe: $21 billion cut from SNAP. If enacted, the House bill would kick as many as 3 million people out of the program and deprive 280,000 schoolchildren of school meals. Additionally, thousands more households would see their monthly benefits reduced. This is in addition to the drop in benefits all SNAP households will see this fall when a temporary increase in benefits expires.”

Rep. Tipton, this is appalling and morally wrong!

Two years ago, the Child Nutrition Act was paid for, in part, by taking $4.2 billion from SNAP. That’s like robbing Peter of his dinner to pay for his son Paul’s school lunch!

I’m a hunger-fighter seeing the effects of the recession ongoing among my neighbors and those tearful and embarrassed former community and business leaders I see at the back doors of our food pantries.

Two important facts were reported in our local media recently; our seven Lift Up food pantries experienced a 51 percent increase in demand in 2012 over 2011 and we have 8,651 fewer jobs in the Roaring Fork Valley than prior to the 2008 implosion of the economy.

How does it make sense to take money for food away from your constituents who are trying to get back on their feet? The money goes right back into the economy!

According to Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, SNAP has a stimulus effect of $1.73 for every dollar spent. He said Moody’s study shows that the fastest way to infuse money into the economy is through expanding the SNAP/food-stamp program.

“If someone who is literally living paycheck to paycheck gets an extra dollar, it’s very likely that they will spend that dollar immediately on whatever they need — groceries,” he said.

You can view the very interesting stimulus comparison chart here: http://frac.org/initiatives/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act/snapfood-stamps-provide-real-stimulus.

It’s estimated that 65 percent of people who qualify for SNAP have not applied. Forty-seven percent of SNAP recipients are children. Hunger is a matter of national security.

Please study the food-insecurity rates in the 29 counties of your district, Rep. Tipton, in the Feeding America “Map the Meal Gap” interactive map of every county in America. Visit http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx.

One in six Americans, or 122,368 of your hungry constituents, deserve to eat, sir.

Kim Doyle Wille